Davis Faculty Association

Archive for the ‘Working conditions’ Category

Taking a Stand Against Harassment

The DFA Board has voted to endorse the statement issued yesterday, the American Association of University Professors (AAUP), American Federation of Teachers (AFT), and Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) calling on college and university leaders to defend members of universities and colleges from campaigns of harassment: “…anything short of a vigorous defense of academic freedom will only further imperil safety. Concessions to the harassers send the message that such odious tactics are effective. They have a chilling effect on the entire academic community.” See the full statement here.

News and Updates for June 2, 2017

Prepared on behalf of the DFA Board by Joe Kiskis.

FLASH: four new Regents appointed today, June 2. See next edition for comments.

Topics in this news update:
Davis Faculty Association membership building
Phil Kass to Vice Provost Academic Affairs
L&S Deans office reorganization and open positions
Senate Chair Chalfant’s comments at May Regents meeting
Regents actions at May meeting Changes to Lecture with Security of
Employment series Changes to UC Retirement Savings Program fees
Davis Division Senate budget letter
May revise of Governor’s budget
Systemwide Senate salary letter

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DAVIS FACULTY ASSOCIATION MEMBERSHIP BUILDING

The Board of the Davis Faculty Association encourages each member to
recruit one new member. That would greatly improve our ability to
function effectively. It is now possible to join online.

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PHIL KASS TO VICE PROVOST ACADEMIC AFFAIRS

Professor Phil Kass will take over as Vice Provost of Academic Affairs,
succeeding the retiring Maureen Stanton, effective July 1.

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L&S DEANS OFFICE REORGANIZATION AND OPEN POSITIONS

Dean Elizabeth Spiller, has written to the College of Letters and Science commenting on the appointments of six Associate Deans and an Executive Dean.

Associate Dean of the Faculty in the Humanities, Arts and Cultural Studies
Associate Dean of the Faculty in the Mathematical and Physical Sciences
Associate Dean of the Faculty in the Social Sciences
Associate Dean, Academic Senate Liaison, Undergraduate Education and Advising
Associate Dean, Undergraduate Programs and Planning
Associate Dean, Research and Graduate Programs
Executive Assistant Dean, Finance and Administration

This does not mean a net increase of seven positions, but I’m uncertain about what the correct net increase is.

There will be internal searches for the second, fifth, and sixth of these. The others have been filled.

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SENATE CHAIR CHALFANT’S COMMENTS AT MAY REGENTS MEETING

Academic Senate Chair Jim Chalfant provided remarks to the University of California Board of Regents May 2017 with pointed comments on perceptions of UC vs. reality, the audit of UCOP, and other items.  Video and pdf.

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REGENTS ACTIONS AT MAY MEETING

The full Board, meeting on May 18, approved three actions. Two were UCOP budgets for 2017-18, and the other is the much-discussed non-resident cap. For more detail, see:
http://regents.universityofcalifornia.edu/aar/mayb.pdf
or for even more detail, see the agenda items here:
http://regents.universityofcalifornia.edu/meetings/agendas/may17.html

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CHANGES TO LECTURER WITH SECURITY OF EMPLOYMENT SERIES

The Office of the President is now formally proposing changes to the Lecturer with Security of Employment (LSOE) series. This topic has been discussed less formally for the last couple of years with a variety of opinions expressed. Recall that faculty in this series are Senate members. Perhaps the most visible change would be to rename the title to “Teaching Professor.” Another significant change will be that a new Teaching Professor step system will be developed that is closer to that used in the Professorial series. Scholarly achievement is added to the advancement criteria.

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CHANGES TO UC RETIREMENT SAVINGS PROGRAM FEES

If you have investments in the UC Retirement Savings Program and read all of your email very carefully, you will have noticed a change in the fee structure for the Retirement Savings Funds. The administrative fees (as opposed to the investment management fees) are now being charged as a flat rate of $35/year per person. This change is disadvantageous to investors with relatively small balances and advantageous to investors with larger balances. The detailed rationale for why this change is overall advantageous is unavailable.

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DAVIS DIVISION SENATE BUDGET LETTER

The Davis Division of the Academic Senate has a letter critical of both the process leading to and the content of the budget framework letter for 2017-18 from the Interim Chancellor and the Interim Provost.

Budget Framework letter

Senate Budget Letter

And there is now a response to the Senate letter from Chancellor-Designate May and Interim Chancellor Hexter

Basically these letters reveal the stresses in attempting to address the ongoing deficit in the campus core funds budget. It will be very difficult to reverse the decrease in educational quality that has resulted from the substantial increase in students that has been made made without the necessary corresponding investment in faculty and facilities.

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MAY REVISE OF THE GOVERNOR’S BUDGET

Overall the Governor’s May budget revise contained no major changes for the University. The modest base budget increase per the budget agreement between the Governor and University President is maintained. However, the May revise states “In response to the State Auditor’s review of the UC Office of the President, the May Revision sequesters $50 million in UC funding until such time that the Auditor’s recommendations and other UC commitments are implemented.” The other commitments refer to follow through on piloting activity-based costing (lack of progress at UC Davis is specifically mentioned) and in meeting transfer student goals at a few campuses.

The Regents action to increase tuition by 2.5% increases the State’s Cal Grant cost. As a consequence of that, the Governor is redirecting $4M from the University budget to Cal Grants for students attending private California institutions. The logic of this change is a bit obscure.

The May revise also contains a statement about out years. “Rising Cal Grant costs from tuition hikes will also limit the state’s ability to increase General Fund support in the future. The state has increased General Fund spending by at least 4 percent annually since 2012-while tuition has been flat. Going forward, the universities should plan for 3-percent growth annually beginning in 2018-19. If the universities raise tuition in the future, additional downward adjustments to state support may be needed to cover the higher Cal Grant costs.”

During the next few weeks, the legislature will be working to pass a budget for 2017-18. The Legislative Analyst’s Office (LAO) recommends that the legislature adopt the Governor’s May revise changes. Nevertheless it is always possible that there will be significant changes before a final budget is passed and signed.

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SYSTEMWIDE SENATE SALARY LETTER

Basically the letter expresses a Senate preference for applying funds available to faculty salary increases to the base salary scales rather than splitting them between the base scales and addressing other targeted concerns such as equity, inversion, and compression. The targeted issues could be addressed with campus funds.

BFA sponsored talk on September 30, 5pm, at UC Berkeley

The DFA’s sister chapter at Berkeley, the BFA, would like to extend a warm welcome to DFA folk to come to an event they are organizing this coming Tuesday. Please invite your colleagues as well.

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The New Normal: What Does It Mean to Work at the UC Today

This event will address the rise of the new managerialism at UC and its implications for faculty research, teaching, welfare, academic freedom, and the tradition of shared governance.

Speakers: Christopher Newfield and Michael Meranze

When and where: September 30, 5pm, Wheeler Hall 300

The_New_Normal

(click on the image for a larger version)

DFA Letter in Support of Graduate Students in Contract Negotiations

February 5, 2014

Jeffery C. Gibeling
Vice Provost – Graduate Education and Dean – Graduate Studies
Office of Graduate Studies – 250 Mrak Hall
1 Shields Ave
Davis, CA 95616

Dear Vice Provost Gibeling:

It is with increasing concern that the Davis Faculty Association (DFA) observes that UC and the Academic Student Employees (ASE) represented by UAW 2865 have failed to reach an agreement. UC’s resistance to the ASE bargaining position is counterproductive. It is extremely important that the UC system maintain the national competitiveness of graduate education at UCD and across all UCs. We are writing to you because we know you are as concerned as we are in these issues, and have devoted much effort to improving conditions of graduate students on campus. It is our impression that many of the bottlenecks to an agreement originate with UCOP and its legal team, as opposed to at a local campus level where students and their interests have defenders such as yourself.

As you know, our ability to bring strong graduate students to our campuses is based, in part, on the level of graduate student stipends we can offer; in this regard we have increasingly fallen behind our peer institutions. For example, according to the most recent UCOP Graduate Student Support Survey, the gap between UC stipend offers for years one and two and those from ‘top-choice’ peer institutions grew between 2007 and 2010 to $2,697 and together with the higher cost of living at UC institutions created a total deficit of $4,978. When surveyed, prospective graduate students who went elsewhere consistently praise UC’s academic resources, but chose other programs due to the higher cost of living and lower levels of financial support at UC campuses (Findings from the Graduate Student Support Survey http://j.mp/1fF52dr). The Report of the Taskforce on Competitiveness in Academic Graduate Student Support (http://j.mp/1fF5BE7), adopted by UC Academic Council in June 2012, declares “rising tuition and uncompetitive stipends threaten to seriously undermine program quality” and asks that additional resources be allocated for net stipends for academic doctoral support.

The GSI wage in particular is so low that our students often take more than one outside job to make ends meet in a high cost-of-living area, thereby retarding their time to degree, on which there are now normative caps. One such cap is the 18-quarter rule, which bans students from being a teaching assistant beyond 18 quarters, even though average time to degree for many fields is slightly above 6 years. Currently the 10 month (49.5%) GSI stipend is $17,655 for an incoming student. Some students may come in with fellowships, but their income drastically falls as soon as they start teaching to levels that are sometimes nearly half that being provided at our rival private institutions.

Greater consciousness of debt burdens and unfavorable academic job futures mean that talented Ph.D. students today are ever less willing to choose a school they may intellectually prefer over a school that provides more economic security. This may be especially true for graduate student workers who are first generation college students. UC was slightly ahead of its peer institutions for under-represented graduate students in 2004 and 2007, but fell behind in 2010 (The Report of the Taskforce on Competitiveness in Academic Graduate Student Support). Once the low levels of child care support and dependent health care support are factored into the equation, parents and partnered people may also be unlikely to choose a UC campus. These low levels of support restrict who attends the UC and limit the range of role models for undergraduates.

The recruitment of the most competitive graduate students has become increasingly difficult given UC’s financial disadvantage and unsupportive social climate. These issues directly affect DFA members because graduate students are a large part of our academic community. Being able to recruit competitive graduate students is factored into a faculty member’s decision about where to teach and conduct research, and where to continue working. We believe higher ASE wages, along with a commensurate increase in TAS funds to cover increased salaries, more child care support, and increased dependent health care support will help to level the playing field, and cease to disadvantage our academic student workers. We urge you to take proactive steps to communicate to UCOP the importance of this issue for preserving the academic distinction of graduate education at the University of California.

Yours sincerely,
The Davis Faculty Association board

cc: Chancellor Linda Katehi

Concern about UCD’s proposed response to inquiry about ASA membership

January 30, 2014

Provost & Exec VC Ralph Hexter
573 Mrak Hall
Davis, CA 95616

Dear Provost Hexter:

It has come to our attention that several faculty members have been contacted by Lynette Temple, Director of Legal Affairs. They have been informed that their names have come up in connection with a search of university communications regarding the American Studies Association (ASA). Your office directed Ms. Temple to take these actions in response to a request for information concerning whether “…any UC Davis funds currently support any ASA activity …”

We are deeply concerned about this, and specifically about why the university plans to single out individual faculty members in response to a request which does not appear to ask for that level of detail.

We intend with this letter to take no position either positive or negative about the actions of the American Studies Association. Rather, we are concerned with the obvious threat to academic freedom. To take an analogous example, how would the university respond to a request by opponents of genetically-modified agriculture for information about university relationships with Monsanto? Would individual faculty member’s names automatically be released?

We have two requests:

[1] That the university not provide personal information unless it is specifically demanded to do so, and required by law.

[2] For clarification from you about university policies concerning responding to such requests, and their implication for academic freedom.

Sincerely,
The Board of the Davis Faculty Association

cc: Lynette Temple, UCD Director of Legal Affairs

Professors in Texas Protest Law That Requires Them to Post Teaching Details Online

Article excerpt:

Faculty members and administrators in Texas are speaking out about a recent state law that requires them to post specific, detailed information about their classroom assignments, curricula vitae, department budgets, and the results of student evaluations.

A conservative group whose administrators have close ties to Gov. Rick Perry lobbied for the law, saying it offers important “consumer protection.” Opponents counter that it has created an expensive and time-consuming burden and offers little benefit to the public.

Chronicle of Higher Education subscribers can read the full article at:

http://chronicle.com/article/Texas-Law-Requires-Professors/65450/

Furlough Survey Results To Date

We have received 57 responses to the furlough survey to date. On the main question of whether furlough days should be scheduled on instructional days, 43 said at least some furlough days should be scheduled on teaching days, 7 were opposed to doing so, and 7 respondents managed to avoid the question in their response.

Of those in favor of furloughed instructional days, most feel it is important for the furloughs to be coordinated — the whole campus closing together — so as to produce the most cost savings, as well as to cause the least confusion. Also, a majority favor scheduling the furloughs near already existent breaks in the schedule.

These ideas all echo the proposal from UCSC’s Academic Senate. In fact, eight survey respondents specifically mentioned the UCSC proposal, seven of them favoring the UCSC approach. The one respondent who mentioned the UCSC proposal as being the wrong approach felt, as a few others did, that making too much effort to minimize the pain would fail to get the point across.

Click here to view the actual responses collected so far.

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